By Richard Gordon
Sensible is a word rarely used in the same sentence as Tottenham and transfers. However sensible is exactly what Tottenham’s transfer strategy has been since control of transfers has been handed to Mauricio Pochettino. A key part of this strategy has been the inclusion of Paul Mitchell, Pochettino’s Head of Recruitment who followed him from Southampton to Tottenham. No longer are Daniel Levy and Franco Baldini making signings behind the manager’s back. This all bodes well for Pochettino being able to mould a team the way he wants, and build on a fairly successful first season in charge. What can we expect for the rest of the summer? Let’s have an in-depth look at the Tottenham squad.
Hugo Lloris’ fractured wrist is quite possibly the best news Tottenham fans have had this week. Strange as that sentence may be, it will have a chilling effect on possible suitors for Lloris (see Manchester United), and increases the chances that he will remain at Tottenham. My personal belief is that Lloris is one of the best keepers in the world, and Spurs should do everything they can to hold onto him. In the meantime, Michel Vorm is a more-than-able deputy, and proved a canny acquisition from Swansea. However a third string keeper will either need to be promoted from the youth squads, or signed, as Jordan Archer was released at the end of the last season.
All of Tottenham’s signings in this window have been in defence. Kevin Wimmer, Toby Alderweireld, and Kieran Trippier are all young, hungry, and keen to develop and win under Pochettino. Wimmer and Alderweireld are both centrebacks who are experienced at international level for Austria and Belgium respectively, and provide significant upgrades on Vlad Chiriches and Younes Kaboul. Importantly, both can fit into a high line, and are comfortable with the ball at their feet.
An all-Belgium combination of Alderweireld and Jan Vertonghen is particularly exciting, especially given their combined success at Ajax. Trippier is an excellent signing, who will push Kyle Walker extremely hard for a starting spot. As we saw with the acquisition of Ben Davies forcing Danny Rose to lift his game to a new level, signing depth of this quality gets more out of existing players, a two-fold benefit.
DeAndre Yedlin is another exciting arrival, who joins Spurs after signing in January. More correctly a wing-back, Yedlin is either going to be pushed forward on the right flank, or go out on loan. For once, Spurs’ defence looks in really good shape. Baldini will be tasked with selling Chiriches, Kaboul, and possibly Federico Fazio, who looked uncomfortable in his first season at Spurs. I expect youngster Milos Velkjovic to get more game time as well.
Tottenham’s midfield could see quite a few new faces this season. Already Paulinho, Etienne Capoue and Lewis Holtby have been sold. Expect Benji Stambouli, and Aaron Lennon to follow them out the door. Expect Spurs to line up 4-2-3-1 again, with central midfield being a real strength this season. Ryan Mason and Nabil Bentaleb showed huge development last season, and if this continues, they will become a real force. Pushing them for a starting spot will be the Football League’s Young Player of the Year Dele Alli, who arrives with high expectations for the future. I expect to see Harry Winks become part of the first-team in this position as well, as his development has been coming along nicely, and Pochettino is clearly a fan of promoting youth talent (see Mason, Bentaleb, Harry Kane). Moussa Dembele will remain an able squad member. The right side of the attacking trio is an area where Spurs’ have great depth. Erik Lamela and Andros Townsend are both quality players (although I think I speak for all Spurs’ fans when I say we’re all hoping for more from Lamela), and if Yedlin doesn’t go out on loan he will provide another exciting option. The central attacking and left sided parts of the trio were lacking in depth last season. This year, Alex Pritchard and Tom Carroll will provide backup to Christian Eriksen. Pritchard was a revelation on loan, especially with his set-piece taking, and Carroll further developed at Swansea. There’s no need to strengthen here. However behind Nacer Chadli there is no real option on the left. Kane played here occasionally, but without doubt, his best position is up front. Expect Pochettino to sign another winger before the start of the season.
Up front is another area where depth is likely to be an issue. Harry Kane is undoubtedly the starting striker, but with Baldini and Levy desperately trying to offload Roberto Soldado and Emmanuel Adebayor, reinforcement is needed. A continuation of Tottenham’s sensible summer would be the signing of Jay Rodriguez , however he unfortunately has signed a contract extension at Southampton. As long as they are young, hungry, keen to develop, and can knock a few goals in, it doesn’t really matter who they are.
What to expect between now and deadline day if Spurs remain sensible:
- Chiriches, Kaboul, Stambouli, Lennon, Soldado, Adebayor.
- A third string goalkeeper, a striker in the mould of Jay Rodriguez, and potentially a winger.
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